Programmable Art!

© R. Mirshahi

This animation sample is an example of melding math, programming, visual art and media literacy. Everything in the animation is very easily modifiable. My students will be creating their own animation and at the same time learning about math and computer programming. The animation is almost completely controlled by code and math. Once the animation is finalized students can post them on their webpages. They can also make music to accompany the animation. Clicking the animation will freeze the animation and print what you see at the moment you click it. If you are not satisfied with the print preview, you can cancel print and try again. To save paper, you can print and save to PDF instead. The PDF file can be opened in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to artistically enhance the image.
I have been asked what makes these works of art rather than random artefacts made through technology. The answer is simple. Although technology has greatly facilitated the artistic process, students had to critically explore elements of design (use of colour, texture, etc.) and make difficult artistic decisions from the beginning to the end. The incorporation of a "message" in the art made the process that much more complicated.
This has been mostly an experiment to demonstrate the use of programming and fractal geometry in creating visual art. The next experiment will be how to use programming to create music. Imagine a similar animation with moving objects and when they collide a note is played. The end result can be completely random like the sound of wind chimes or programmed like music boxes.

Here are a few posters and animations made using this resource.

Stop Racism!

This is a snapshot of an animation created by Abbiram. He decided to convey the same message in this artwork as in his speech. The word "stop" is forming an octagon in the middle that resembles a stop sign. The grainy effect was added in Photoshop.
© R. Mirshahi

Anti-Drug Message

This art piece has a strong anti-drug message by David. Minor enhancements were made in Photoshop.
© R. Mirshahi


Is privacy a right? Is it important? Are you willing to give it up? The fact is that technology makes it easier than ever before to "rob" individuals of their privacy with or without their permission or knowledge. The many eyes in this artwork symbolize the ever-increasing challenge of protecting one's privacy. The contrasting colours and images in this poster make it both beautiful and scary at the same time. It shows how we are often lured into giving up our privacy.
© R. Mirshahi

Peace On Earth

This artwork uses a stark border resembling the darkness of universe and brighter colours in the middle to symbolize the importance of hope even in dark times. The doves are symbols of peace and freedom flying around the blue planet we call earth. All graphics are drawn in Flash.
© R. Mirshahi

Rainforests: The Lungs of the Earth

Rainforests support the biodiversity of animals and plants. They are also the "lungs" of the earth that pump oxygen into the atmosphere and make life as we know it possible on our planet. Sadly, rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate. This poster shows a picture of hazy looking, blue lungs in the background, symbolizing our polluted atmosphere. In the foreground, there are trees and in the very core you will see fire and smoke showing the destruction of the rainforests. The fire and smoke is strategically placed at the heart of the rainforest (also in relation to the lungs) symbolizing a planet whose health is seriously threatened. The poster resembles an aerial picture, indicating that deforestation is for the most part a hidden problem unless we look at it from a global perspective.
The realistic fire and smoke effect was created in Flash. The image was further enhanced in Photoshop.
© R. Mirshahi

Oxygen Machine

© R. Mirshahi
This animation shows the tropical rainforests through a lung-shaped window. The rainforest image is constantly moving and changing, symbolizing different concepts. 1- they are constantly working to clean the air and make life liveable on Earth. 2- The constant movement in the animation also symbolizes the turbulence of our times trying to balance our needs to get resources from our forests and that of protecting them for future generations.

© R. Mirshahi

Global Warming: Now Playing at a Planet Nearest You!

This poster resembles a promotion for a movie. It has a window similar to an old TV screen that opens to our world allowing us to look at a global issue from a global perspective. Unfortunately, this movie is based on a true story.
The realistic flames in this artwork were created in Flash using programming and fractal geometry. It was further enhanced in Photoshop.

© R. Mirshahi


Perhaps we should try to avoid manufacturing non-recyclable products and make it easier for everyone to recycle. Let's do it for the Earth, let's do it for ourselves. The recycle symbol wraps around the earth and each arrow bears messages and smaller recycle symbols indicating that we all should do our part to recycle the Earth's resources. The letter "R" in the middle stands both for "Resources" of the Earth and "Recycling". This artwork was created in Flash and Photoshop.

This artwork was developed with help from Helen and Grace in the Media Club.


3 Rs

This is a minimalist piece of art. Recycling is important but it is only effective if we also reduce and reuse the resources we take from the Earth.

Environmental Footprint

We all affect the world around us and are also influenced by our environment. We are not separate from the world we live in. An environmental footprint is a symbolic way of describing how we change and sometimes disrupt the natural environment. What does this artwork imply? What is the message it is trying to express? Do you agree with this message?


© R. Mirshahi

What is in my future?

This artwork shows the importance of balancing our needs today and that of future generations. The big eyes of the child symbolize our collective hope for the future and the tiled effect resembles ancient mosaics found in ancient ruins. There is no question that we are over-exploiting our natural resources for short-term prosperity. Will the future generations inherit the devastations caused by our greed? How will our children and grandchildren judge us when they look at the ruins of our civilization?
FutureLooking forward_edited-2.png
© R. Mirshahi

Is There Room for Me?

Will elephants continue to thrive in the African wilderness? A small picture of Planet Earth is placed in the centre of the animation to highlight the importance of the message. Human development is increasing at such a rapid pace that perhaps one day there will be no room for elephants and other magnificent animals in the wild. You will see the animation below followed by a picture grab that was retouched in Photoshop. Any such animation can potentially create many static pictures.

© R. Mirshahi

Stop Ruining My Home

This art piece shows the dark future awaiting polar animals such as the penguin. Look at the glaring sun in the top right corner and the icicles which show melting ice. A tear drop is strategically placed in the middle of the artwork symbolizing the melting glaciers. Also through careful tinting and using Photoshop layers and filters the image showing through the tear drop resembles a "crystal ball" showing a dark future if we don't act now.
Project by Sayilja and Maria.


© R. Mirshahi


This art piece talks about habitat loss. Look how the images of the polar bears appear as though they are clinging to each other and the last remaining piece of ice in the ocean. As one of the students mentioned, the combination of cool colours and the deep, dark colours of the ocean and the text background create a gloomy look.
Project by Grace.
© R. Mirshahi

Boo - Don't Mess with my Bamboo!

Very clever! Again this artwork talks about habitat loss. The bamboo background symbolize the bamboo forests where the pandas live.
Project by: Shevani & Mahima
© R. Mirshahi

Snow Leopard

This art piece incorporates many snapshots of the snow leopard's face in the form of a single snowflake. This art symbolizes the dependence of this beautiful species and many others on snow and the danger of climate change.


© R. Mirshahi

Save the Tiger!

This poster is made from 16 pictures of a tiger's face. The angry face of the tiger was deliberately chosen to portray a "cornered" animal that has nowhere to go. As the tigers are losing their habitats, they are in a sense being "squeezed" into extinction. This poster attempts to symbolize the concept of habitat loss and the unfortunate plight of the tiger.
© R. Mirshahi

Polar Bears: So Mighty, So Beautiful, So Threatened!

© R. Mirshahi

Snake: "Don't Hate Me! I need your s-s-sympathy!

© R. Mirshahi

Giraffe Pattern

© R. Mirshahi

Student Name Art Sample: Zaid

© R. Mirshahi

Student Name - Sayilaja

© R. Mirshahi

Lips Flower

How many lips does it take to make a flower? You do the math! This artwork is entirely made with lips! It is a great example of how programming can be used to create a desired effect. This image was artistically enhanced in Photoshop.
© R. Mirshahi


This flower was created with patterns on butterflies as well as the above art in the centre.
© R. Mirshahi

Go Leafs Go!

This shows how versatile this resource is. Masking technique was used to create this artwork and the image was enhanced in Photoshop Elements.
© R. Mirshahi

Inspiration Art- Sample 1

Artists may draw inspiration from anything they see, hear, or feel. This art was inspired by the geometric design below. Do you see the resemblance? It is textured to look like a bronze statue.

Inspiration Art- Sample 2

This art was also inspired by the geometric design below. Do you see the resemblance? It is textured to look like glass.
© R. Mirshahi

Geometric Design - Sample 1

Simple yet beautiful! This design was created in Photoshop using a raw image similar to the one on the right.
© R. Mirshahi

Abstract Art - Sample 1

This artwork was made using this "Digital Programmable Art" project and it was finalized in Photoshop Elements. It is a great excuse for students to experiment with the special effects in Photoshop (e.g., filters). One thing I love about Adobe software is how seamless the workflow is. You can print these animations as PDF using Adobe PDF or other PDF printers. You can import PDF in Photoshop and enhance it there and render it as JPG if you want to print it on photographic paper. You can import Photoshop files (PSD) in Flash and keep all your layers intact to animate them (see here). Also, you can import swf animations in Premiere Elements (video editing) and even edit your video frame in Photoshop. In Ontario public schools all these tools are freely available for use by teachers to promote creativity in students.
© R. Mirshahi

Abstract Art - Sample 2

This abstract art is inspired by hurricanes.
© R. Mirshahi

Vortex of Extinction: Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You

Many people depend on the food that comes from the ocean. Overfishing, pollution and climate change are threatening the oceans. Aren't we biting the hand that feeds us? This artwork symbolizes overfishing causing damage to fish stocks in the ocean. The art shows that although there is plenty of fish in the ocean, we have to be more responsible when it comes to "harvesting" what the oceans have to offer. Circular wave lines symbolize the "vortex of extinction". The widescreen format was deliberately chosen to demonstrate how widespread this problem is. Here is a link to webpage with a video by David Suzuki: We are the Oceans!
© R. Mirshahi

Financial Literacy

This poster encourages us to save more when we can and spend our money more wisely. This concept is also true when it comes to the human species using and depleting the Earth's resources. It emphasizes the importance of reducing our environmental footprints. There is a tendency for all of us to buy things we do not actually need because maybe they are the coolest thing to have or just because they are on sale. This habit is bad for the environment and for us as individuals.
This poster has been created using unique techniques in Flash and Photoshop.
© R. Mirshahi

Solar Flares

This animation is inspired by solar flares. The image is a snapshot of the animation that was enhanced in Photoshop to give it a cosmic look. Do solar storms pose a serious threat to human civilization? Scientists predict that solar storms will increase in 2013.

Look how the same pattern was reused to create the "Easter Egg" below!

© R. Mirshahi